How to Create a Hanging Indent in Google Docs

A hanging indent is a formatting option in word processing applications like Google Docs and Microsoft Word that will automatically add a left indent to a paragraph, while leaving the first line in the original location.

A regular indentation setting will usually apply the reverse; meaning that the first line indent will be applied off of the left margin instead of the remaining lines in the paragraph.

But certain formatting requirements from organizations like the MLA will dictate that specific situations, such as on a works cited page, may require the indent to start on the second line of the paragraph instead.

The steps in the guide above use the Google Docs program from the Google Apps suite to let you customize your indentation options and quickly indent your entire paragraph while leaving the first line of a paragraph in place.

How to Create a Hanging Indent in Google Docs

  1. Open the document.
  2. Choose the line to indent.
  3. Click Format.
  4. Select Align & indent.
  5. Choose Indentation options.
  6. Select Hanging under Special indent and enter a size.
  7. Click Apply.

Our article continues below with additional information and pictures of these steps.

How to Do a Hanging Indent on Google Docs

The steps in this article were performed in the desktop version of the Google Chrome Web browser, but will also work in other desktop browsers like Firefox or Safari.

Use these steps to make a hanging indent in Google Docs.

  1. Open the document in Google Docs.

    You can go directly to to access your documents quickly.
    open your document in Google Docs

  2. Click on the line in the document that you want to indent.

    You can actually click anywhere within the paragraph that you wish to indent.
    click in the paragraph for the hanging indent

  3. Select the “Format” tab at the top of the window.

    select the Format tab

  4. Choose the “Align & indent” option.

    choose the Align and indent option

  5. Click “Indentation options.”

    click Indentation options

  6. Select the “Special indent” dropdown menu, click “Hanging”, then choose a size for the indent.

    The sizes shown in the image below are in inches, but may be in centimeters based on your geographic location.
    how to create a hanging indent in Google Docs

  7. Click the “Apply” button.

    click the Apply button

FAQ and More information on Hanging Indents in Google Docs

  • After the hanging indent has been applied you will see a blue triangle in the ruler that indicates the position of the left indent. There will also be a blue rectangle next to it, which is the first line indent marker.
  • If you don’t see the rulers on your document, then you can go to View > Show ruler to enable it.
  • If you need to exercise more margin control over your document, check out the margin settings under File > Page setup.
  • MLA format often requires you to double-space your document as well. That setting is found by going to Format > Line spacing > and choosing the Double option.

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